A US Marine was arrested in Okinawa, Japan on Sunday on suspicion of trespassing amid anger over US military crimes and demands for stricter regulations on troops.
The incident is the second after the US military stepped up disciplinary steps last month and immediately triggered a harsh reaction from the Okinawa government, reports Fox News.
Police allege that 1st Lieutenant Tomas Chanquet, 24, of the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma snuck into a room through an unlocked door and slept there until he was spotted by a resident who called police.
Tensions are already high over an alleged rape by two Navy sailors last month reignited deep-rooted anti-base sentiment on Okinawa, home to more than half of the 52,000 US troops currently stationed in Japan.
While the US Marine arrest was upsetting to all Japanese citizens, it was especially upsetting on Okinawa, where the Emperor Akihito was visiting to attend a fisheries event. ABC News notes that Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima stated:
“I’m too shocked to say anything. It’s utterly ridiculous and extremely regrettable. I must lodge a strong protest to both the Japanese and US governments. They must to something more significant.”
The alleged rape case last month led to a curfew for all troops in Japan, but this is the second time it has been broken. The first time was by a US airman who allegedly assaulted a teenager. Sunday’s incident involving the US Marine arrested in Okinawa also brings to light questions over the effectiveness of the curfew and other disciplinary steps for troops in Japan.